Yes, our body needs protein, but do you really understand why it’s so important? Plus, you need to make sure you are eating the right amount of lean protein. It’s important that you understand how protein works and what sources of protein are best for your body.
Losing muscle and bone mass is a major concern for all of us as we age. Our body needs amino acids (protein) within 20 minutes to 1 hour of waking up. Do you start your day with protein? Especially when dieting, adults require at least 30 grams of protein at each meal. Yes, that’s what I said...each meal! Eating 65% of our daily protein for dinner does not fully stimulate growth or improve satiety.
Protein actually has the greatest impact at breakfast, due to overnight fasting. Sadly, most adults consume less than 10 grams of protein in the morning. Protein is the major functional and structural component of all the cells in the body. After 30, adults need increased protein to support structural tissue as well as tissue repair when in recovery from illness or surgery.
In addition, to feeling full and aiding in increased burning of calories, protein rich diets have been shown to improve the prevention of:
Type 2 diabetes
So you could be thinking “what about counting calories?” Good question. Let’s take one cup of cottage cheese which has 163 calories and 28 grams of protein. But if we attempt to get the same amount of protein (28 grams) from eating almonds, we would consume almost 800 calories, yikes!
You don’t need to start counting calories...it’s just important to focus on low-calorie sources protein. Some examples include:
Fish: Shrimp, tuna, tilapia
Poultry: ground turkey, chicken breast
It’s so important to increase your lean muscle mass throughout your lifetime. With a high protein diet and just 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily, you can support your weight maintenance goals and increase your energy levels. You can also reduce the risk of chronic disease. If you don’t exercise, expect to lose about 1% of your muscle mass each year. That’s enough reason for me to get lots of protein and exercise into my daily routine.